The Lovecraftsman analyzes 170 objects left at his grave. At 41% the proportion of rocks lead all the rest. *** Also on the subject of his grave, in the 2006 article "I Am Providence: The City That Made H.P. Lovecraft," Robert Anasi wrote "Lovecraft's 'I am Providence' memorial marker has been removed". I suppose that was temporary.
"Lovecraft, Deleuze and Media Studies: The First international CYCLONOPEDIA SYMPOSIUM" was to be held in New York City. It is a "a one-day symposium dedicated to the inter-relations between Lovecraftian fear/horror/terror, Deleuze's nomad 1000 Plateaus, and the Mille-feuilles/leafs/lepe[r]s of contemporary Media Studies."
Will Hart has pdf'ed the program (with autographs) of the 2011 Mythoscon.
"H.P. Lovecraft's 10 Favorite Words and a Free Lovecraft eBook" are available at the Tor site. An analysis of his stories shows that the top 3 words are: (1) Hideous - 260; (2) Faint (ed/ing) - 189; (3) Nameless - 157
Lengthily writing about Guillermo del Toro in the 7 February 2011 New Yorker, a Daniel Zalewski refers to his coming "adaptation of a grandly ridiculous H. P. Lovecraft novella, At the Mountains of Madness." *** On the Houston Press blog filmmakers Sean Branney and Andrew Leman talk about their new The Whisperer in Darkness.
It appears that in the 1970's, French composer Tristan Murail wrote a piece entitled "Lovecraft."
Now available: Lovecraft eZine: A Free Online Magazine Featuring Lovecraftian Horror
Arkham House publisher and daughter of August Derleth, April Derleth died on 21 March.
In Fantastic Television (1977) by Gary Gerani with Paul H. Schulman, one learns that the Kolchak episode "Horror in the Heights" is a "tribute" by Hammer Films screenwriter and director Jimmy Sangster to HPL. The story concerns a monster that can take on the shape of someone the victim trusts (p. 139). *** Amy H. Sturgis (Redecorating Middle-Earth in Early Lovecraft. Always Halloween and Never Thanksgiving) will be writing an essay for a forthcoming collection on Fringe and its debt to HPL and others. *** A two-part episode of Supernatural is entitled "The Haunter of the Dark."
Things at the Doorstep: An Evening of Horror Based on the Works of H.P. Lovecraft by Greg Oliver Bodine & Nat Cassidy played at Manhattan Theatre Source in New York. It featured a dramatization of "The Hound" and "I Am Providence," which "is a series of Lovecraftian adaptations and musings that highlight the master's insights into our own ephemeral wants and fears." *** Playing at Broadway's Kraine Theatre the H.P. Lovecraft Festival was presented by Radiotheatre in March and April. Program A had "Pickman's Model," "Dagon," "From Beyond," and "The Beast in the Cave"; program B featured "The Dunwich Horror" and "The Music of Erich Zann." What's more, for the fall of 2011 "Dan Bianchi has adapted and scored for the stage 50 of Lovecraft's greatest literary works," though presumably they all won't be featured in one swoop.
*** Via Yog-Sothoth.com:
The UK's First Live Cabaret Celebrating the Eldritch Works of HP Lovecraft . Live Lovecraft Readings: performed by The Fitzrovia Radio Hour - direct from the West End and featured many times on BBC Radio 4. Laughs with Lovecraft: HP Lovebox - a tentacle-headed crooner wearing a natty suit and belting out indie hits. like Frank Sinatra from Lovecraft's darkest nightmare. Lovecraft Book Launch: SelfMadeHero's latest graphic novel based on the short stories of HP Lovecraft, The Lovecraft Anthology: Volume I. With exclusive guests! Exclusive Film Screenings , Quiz And Great Music! Hosted by Chris Lackey, HP Lovecraft expert and co-host of the HP Lovecraft Literary Podcast
*** As of March, Re-Animator, the Musical is playing in Los Angeles. Co-writers of
the work are Stuart Gordon, Dennis Paoli, and William J. Norris. ***
***According to The Greenpoint Gazette "in 'A Commonplace Book of the Weird: The Untold Stories of H.P. Lovecraft,' writers from all over the country wrote pieces based on [his] notes." An April reading and celebration was to include local contributors as well as a short screening.
There's a Peeping Cthulhu Suction Cup Plush, of which Technabob says "It's the combination of things, the cuteness of the plush toy, the fact that Cthulhu was never meant to be cute, and the fact that most people driving behind you will have no idea what the hell it is that makes this one a winner."
"A Day in the Life of a Lovecraftian" incorporates HPL titles within a short narrative. *** For the Kindle and the Nook author Bryan W. Alaspa has available the e-book Mythos: A Thriller. *** According to reviewer Michael Dirda, portions of the satiric Pym (Spiegel & Grau, 2011) by Mat Johnson mixes The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket with its "sequels," Jules Verne's The Sphinx of the Ice Fields and At the Mountains of Madness. *** In the murder mystery Borges and the Eternal Orangutans (New Directions, 2005) by Brazilian author Luís Fernando Veríssimo, one theory why the victim met his end was because he was about to reveal the true existence of the Necronomicon, which Edgar Allan Poe also knew about. Elsewhere a fictional Jorge Luis Borges states "Apart from Poe and Lovecraft, I have written more literature with apparently hidden meanings--always so tempting to unhinged interpreters--than anyone" (quoted from Magill's Literary Annual ). *** Maybe it's just my Rorschach imagination, but the text for "The History of Science Fiction" looks as though it has been superimposed on the profile of Cthulhu. Via The Golden House-Sparrow: Site of the Day. *** Written for a juvenile audience, David Lubar's Enter the Zombie (Tom Doherty Associates, 2011) has schools named Dunwich Academy and Lovecraft Upper Elementary.
Famous Monsters of Filmland (no. 31, December 1964)
"The Dunwich Horror (Lovecraft)" is announced under "The Monster Eye," as is The Shuttered Room, but without any attribution.
FM 32 (March 1965)
My suspicious mind finds under the humorless "Credits and Acknowledgments" the name of "Herb West." *** Answer to a letter mentions that photos of Robert Bloch and Fritz Leiber appeared in the magazine Look (8 September 1964) for an article "Monsters: Why our Children are Wild for Horror Movies, TV & Games." *** A letter offering details about the historical Dracula comes from Joanna Russ, whose "My Boat" would be one of the Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos (Arkham House, 1990). Among her essays is "On the Fascination of Horror Stories, Including Lovecraft's."
FM 33 (May 1965)
"Monster Mail Call" has a letter from Steve Utley, who I presume to be the future Steven Utley of the story "Black as the Pit, from Pole to Pole" in Eternal Lovecraft: The Persistence of HPL in Popular Culture (Golden Gryphon Press, 1998) edited by Jim Turner. *** At a Count Dracula Society meeting FM photographer Walter J. Daugherty assembled an hour-long picture-program about HPL that was narrated on tape by Fritz Leiber; 150 hours went into its preparation.
Lovecraft Annual (no. 4, 2010)
I'm going through the published correspondence with Carl F. Strauch. There's HPL's unannotated (and unconsciously punning) statement, "Thanks very much for the Bechtel cuttings," where news accounts of cabalistic wounds on a murder victim remind HPL of the fiction of Blackwood and Machen (25 Feb. 1932, p. 68). According to the New York Times (21 Jan. 1932), "Peculiar cabalistic marks, carved on the scalp of Norman R. Bechtel ... who was found dying on a Germantown [Pa.] estate early today led the police tonight to believe his murderer was a homicidal maniac... The possibility that the peculiar markings might have been those of some strange secret society or cult led investigators to hunt indications of Bechtel's membership in such organizations. They found none."
I was briefly able to use a database of old newspapers thanks to its publisher Readex. I discovered in the Cleveland Plain Dealer (13 March 1923) that a local organization called the Colophon Club had voted for something like the six greatest stories in the world. One of the nominees was "Hypnos," which was disqualified because it had not yet been published. Further digging disclosed that in 1924 this club privately-printed A Round-Table in Poictesme: A Symposium, edited By Don Bregenzer and Samuel Loveman.
C. L. Moore
Robert A. Heinlein enjoyed the Northwest Smith stories by C. L. Moore that appeared in Weird Tales. As a matter of fact he unwittingly took the title of his story "The Green Hills of Earth" from "Shambleau." He had thought that the words came from a story by Henry Kuttner, but had been unable to locate it; then a friend discovered the origin of the title. (See Robert A. Heinlein [Tor, 2010] by William H. Patterson, Jr., page 403.)
Robert W. Chambers
"Steve stared at him and said tonelessly: 'The King in Yellow. I read a book with that title once.'" Quoted from "The King in Yellow" by Raymond Chandler.
"The Haunter of the Dark"
In this story "The Pharaoh Nephren-Ka built around it [the Haunter] a temple with a windowless crypt, and did that which caused his name to be stricken from all monuments and records." According to Wikipedia, the Latin phrase "damnatio memoriae" (i.e., "damnation of memory") was the erasing from remembrance of Roman elites and emperors after their death. While this practice of trying to un-person someone and oust him from historical records can be found in other places and times, it is plausible that HPL learned of this through his familiarity with Roman history and ways. In the case of Nephren-Ka, I gather the motive was less political than theological and moral.
Unless your brain has been in a canister on the planet Yuggoth (I'm looking at you, Henry Akeley) you'll know that Guillermo del Toro's hotly anticipated Lovecraft adaptation is not to be-at least through Universal, the studio that was to finance it. Within a 24-hour period I read that the movie was finally to be produced, then the downright pessimistic and too true announcement that it wouldn't be. L
While I feel the movie would not have very closely represented Lovecraft, it would have been very well crafted and very imaginative, a del Toro-ian rather than Lovecraftian work. My guess is that it would have been heavy on special effects, whereas this should have been sacrificed for what is the core of a Lovecraft story and constantly overlooked in adaptations-atmospheric effects. As HPL said in 1935, "Atmosphere, not action, is the thing to cultivate in the wonder story."
Tom Cruise was rumored to star in the movie, and this was a mistake. Since "the true 'hero' of a marvel tale is not any human being, but simply a set of phenomena" a major actor would point the story to himself, whereas he should be in the background and serve as a reaction to the strangeness.
Aside from del Toro, other losers in the movie-that-is-not-to-be is foremost HPL, who would be exposed to a pool of additional readers. If del Toro wanted expert advice from Lovecraftians, they too are out of the picture (in a manner of speaking). Nor will there be licensing of pet shoggoths, or whatever.
Graeme: Vol Molesworth has 36 entries in the WorldCat bibliographic database, beginning with a co-authorship in the 1960 journal Philosophy and Phenomenological Research and including a number of fantasy works, as spoken of in your publication. *** The name sounds like a punning pseudonym-i.e., "vole" and "mole," two small mammals.
Ken: Concerning that photograph, it would be splendid if the cat-in-arms was the black cat that subsequently found fictional immortality and name-notoriety in "The Rats in the Walls." I wonder where HPL was. *** You dispute Arkham House "as a 'ghetto' specialty publisher" because of its as-good-as mainstream publisher sales and its physical quality. To typically play the contrarian, I maintain that AH was pre-eminently a specialty publisher because of its subject matter and audience. *** One problem I found with the earlier version of I Am Providence is S.T.'s overabundance of value judgments, sometimes dealing with non-Lovecraft matters as aesthetics of architecture and language.
Don and Mollie: In reflecting on the attitude of Scrooge's old girlfriend, you write "Odd, that anyone would be 'content' to be poor." Doctor Johnson said something to the effect that volumes have been written why people should be satisfied with being poor, but nothing is written about why people should be satisfied with being rich (i.e., nobody has to justify the benefits of money). Belle and Fezziwig represent the un-Scrooge, so such characters should be judged in moral and symbolic terms, not human ones.
T.R.: A very fine job of giving a more realistic and off-a-pedestal approach to HPL's understanding of physics-and by implication, his objectivity-disillusioning as it may be. I wonder how typical was Lovecraft's flawed knowledge and how it compared with science fictional contemporaries, such as E.E. Smith (degrees in chemical engineering) or S. Fowler Wright or John Taine (mathematician)? Yet the biases of his knowledge may have left alone his artistic side, so a story such as "The Dreams in the Witch House" would have remained verisimilitudinous. *** So far as greatness in literature being determined by timelessness--does that mean (to be somewhat frivolously casuistic) that Sophocles is a greater writer than Shakespeare because he has lasted longer?; or that there are no great writers today because they haven't accumulated enough generations of readers? I'd say "greatness" is very much a subjective perception--emotional and intellectual--that is partly validated by decades and centuries of readers and the body of criticism that grows up around the writer.
Mark: The short stories I've read by Paul Ernst I've enjoyed.
Martin: That's an interesting selective memory of Julius Schwartz about HPL: "very tall and did all the talking." Since the former is in error--I'd call him average height--the latter is suspect, though intriguing. How much did he contribute to a conversation, i.e., did he dominate it? *** At a guess, the first mention of HPL's name in print would be his birth certificate or birth announcement, if such there was back then. Or maybe a mention in the newspaper of kids enrolled in elementary school.
John H.: It is interesting to learn of Dr. Wertham's appreciation of Lovecraft's fiction, even though he was adapted by Wetham's bęte noire E.C. Comics. Do you know where you got that information about the doctor?
Fred: Book culture and cyberculture overlap. For example, a book's text can be read online. The format may be different, but the information is the same. The text will change when it is able to take advantage of online potentials--sound, pictures, and more becoming part of the narrative.
Leigh: After reading that parody by Jack Sharkey you provided in Playboy of HPL and other horror writers, I looked for information about the author. Aside from appearances in science fiction magazines and anthologies, apparently he wrote a number of plays in the same vein: The Picture of Dorian Gray: A Musical Drama (1982); Jekyll Hydes Again!: A Screwball Musical (1984); Wilkie Collins' Classic Tale The Woman in White! : A Cautionary Chronicle of Monstrous Evil and Blackhearted Villainy in Song & Dance (1987); Sherlock Holmes and the Giant Rat of Sumatra: A Musical Victorian Spoof Suggested by the Writings of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1987); and Cinderella Meets the Wolfman!: A Howlingly Funny Musical Spoof (1988). *** In one of my older Playboys (August 1964) I found a story by Arthur C. Clarke, "The Shining Ones." Whether it has Lovecraftian elements I'll leave to the reader. The narrator goes down in a bathysphere and discovers intelligent small squid. In a later trip, as he finds a squid of inconceivable size, his story is cut off in mid-sentence. The concept of something huge and terrible has a Lovecraftian atmosphere, and the abrupt ending brings to mind "Dagon" or Hodgson's The House on the Borderland--and for the movie buff in you, that scene in The Beast from 20'000 Fathoms where the professor in the bathysphere is similarly interrupted by a monster.
S.T.: It is no more than a coincidence, but in Lovecraft's list of the seven best horror tales, four have a color in their titles: "The White Powder," "The White People," "The Black Seal," and "The Yellow Sign."
Of Those Who Would Be HPL
Boswell had this to say of Samuel Johnson's imitators, and it is as true for Lovecraft's. "Yet whatever merit there may be in any imitations of Johnson's style, every good judge must see that they are obviously different from the original; for all of them are either deficient in its force, or overloaded with its peculiarities; and the powerful sentiment to which it is suited is not to be found."
Hallowe'en on TCM
Always one to let a task slip through my fingers, I have for two years been meaning to mention the showing on Hallowe'en 2008 of four Lovecraft movies on the best of television channels, Turner Classic Movies. The first, The Haunted Palace, was the most successful and had one wonderful Lovecraftian line. It is spoken by Vincent Price (as Joseph Curwen), when he admits that he does terrible things for gods whose purpose is unfathomable, suggesting that even a warlock has limits to his knowledge. The second (Die, Monster, Die  from "The Colour out of Space") starred Boris Karloff and Nick Adams, two actors I enjoy, but this was the weakest of the movies shown. The best scene was the discovery in a building of a mutated menagerie. The last time I saw the third, The Shuttered Room (1966), was when it was originally shown in the movie house. It's not Lovecraft nor Derleth nor a horror movie, save thinly. A couple comes to an island where the woman is menaced by a tough (Oliver Reed). The concept of someone locked in a room is very much secondary. Another one that I saw when it had originally come out, The Dunwich Horror (1970) was a partial success, and showcased some well-known actors (Ed Begley, Sam Jaffee, Dean Stockwell). The greatest disappointment was the rending of Wilbur's sibling, followed by the emphasis of the story on a kind of romance with Sandra Dee.
A library conference brought me to Philadelphia, home of the United Amateur Press Association. In 1928 HPL visited "the colonial shades of old Philadelphia [which he] survey'd with undiminished affection." He also calls it "that venerable and favourite town." While there I visited the Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site, called by HPL "a pleasant brick cottage of three stories." Also: "Of the Poe houses still standing, none comes to life more vividly as a typical home than this unpretentious cottage" (all quotes from Collected Essays). If, like me, you go on a tour of the house, you'll be shown in an upper story the replica of a heart underneath the floorboards and, in the cellar (in a recess), a toy black cat whose eyes light up; both "The Tell-Tale Heart" and "The Black Cat" were apparently published here while Poe was in residence. The exhibits included one that named authors who reflected his influence. Among these were Arthur Conan Doyle, Stephen King, and (gag me) "Lemony Snicket." Since there was no acknowledgement of HPL, I scribbled about this omission in the small comment section of the visitor guest book.
I'll add that the statue of a raven stands in the Poe garden. Across the street from the house, on the side of a sizable building, was an expert and vivid mural of Poe along with a quotation from "Hop-Frog" ("I never knew any one so keenly alive to a joke [etc.]"). Another day I passed by the Walnut Street Theatre, founded the same year that Poe was born and remains America's oldest continually operating one (202nd season!). It dramatized "The Gold-Bug" the year of its publication, 1843.
Returning from the Poe visit I passed the building of the Philadelphia Police Department. I reflected that dropping the letters "lic" from "Police" results in the Philadelphia Poe Department. Maybe this investigates the Rue Morgue murders or the aforementioned tell-tale heart case. It would fit in with other investigative units-Charles Stross's Laundry, Hellboy's Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense, Hodgson's Carnacki, etc.
I later went to the graveyard wherein is the tomb of Benjamin Franklin, whose remains are stolen in The Case of Charles Dexter Ward. To do so, the ghouls would have had to lift an expansive slab over the resting place of him and his wife; and many a penny lies on it, perhaps as a solicitation for good luck or to acknowledge "a penny saved is a penny earned." The cemetery preservation association earns between $3-4,000 yearly from these minute contributions. Though the cemetery (Christ Church Burial Ground) is small, it contains about 4,000 bodies. That is possible because of the cemetery's depth. In one instance the roots of a tree had broken into a large, deep vault below and tumbled those who were interred. (Think of "The Unnameable": "I had made a fantastic remark about the spectral and unmentionable nourishment which the colossal roots must be sucking in from that hoary, charnel earth.") Despite the crowding, one plot yet remains for a widower who had been involved with the cemetery.
Last, I had an enjoyable time at the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences, workplace of paleontologists Joseph Leidy and Edward Drinker Cope, and home of the first mounted dinosaur skeleton, whose casts are on display.
A Proposal for His Narratives
Several issues back I disagreed about welcoming another Lovecraft collection (The Fiction: Complete and Unabridged), maintaining the field was swollen with re-packagings of his writing. Yet, there is another, and fresh, way of presenting his work. Collect only that which tells a story-something made up with a beginning, middle, and end.
Beyond fiction this would encompass excerpts from his letters and his poetry (nothing in his essays presently comes to mind). August Derleth already anticipated this in Dreams and Fancies (1962), but it was not exhaustive and he left out most fiction and all poems. So, in the collection I propose you'd find both "The Statement of Randolph Carter" and the dream that inspired it. Among poems would be "Psychopompos" and others which could be read as stories. However, the space for accommodation would require a multi-volume set.
Thanks for reading the 3,792 words of the 68th issue of The Criticaster (Spring 2010, mailing 154th for the Esoteric Order of Dagon) by Steve Walker. Eventually published on the Net as The Limbonaut (no 39).